Northwestern’s former center Amy Jaeschke left a 6-5, 21.4 points per game hole in the Wildcat offense. That's a lot of height, points and leadership that the Wildcats will miss this season.
So how did Northwestern fill that void? Women's basketball head coach Joe McKeown does it by recruiting the 14th ranked freshmen class according to ESPN.
With three new players, each playing different positions, McKeown said he is excited to see what his team can do.
“When we recruit we ask what type of person would like to play here,” McKewon said. “We saw all three [freshmen] when they were younger and we knew we wanted them.”
Morgan Jones, Alex Cohen and Karly Roser arrived on campus in September to join a Wildcat offense in transition.
Even with the loss of Jaeschke, Jones, a McDonald’s All-American in high school, said she is excited to play on a faster-paced offense.
Her attraction to Northwestern extended beyond the academics and athletics however. Her sister, Tailor Jones, is a junior guard on the team.
“That was a big factor in my decision. She’s like my best friend and she’s been through it so I kind of knew what to expect rather than walking in here blinded,” Jones said. “It was nice to know how it really is like because the recruiting process can be confusing at times.”
In the limited practice time for the ‘Cats, McKeown has been impressed by the play of all three freshmen but he says he was surprised by the speed of freshmen Karly Roser, a point guard from Ontario, Canada.
“Karly has tremendous quickness. I underestimated that until she got here and we actually got her out onto the court,” McKeown said.
For Roser, the most difficult part of transitioning from college to high school is being more vocal.
“I’m supposed to lead the team on the floor which is out of my comfort zone because I’m quiet by nature,” she said. “The seniors are a big help letting me know what to do and when to call out plays.”
The possibility that all three players could contribute immediately, along with the recognition from ESPN, marks a shift in Northwestern women’s basketball recruiting.
With steady improvement over the past three years under his leadership, McKeown says top prospects are starting to pay more attention.
“We should be in the recruiting battles with the Duke’s and the UConn’s,” McKeown said. “I think we have been undervalued as an athletic department,”
With a sister already in the program, Jones said she knew that the quality of the program and coaching staff would be top notch.
"Before I made my decision my sister told me, ‘If you come to Northwestern, it's as real as it gets.’”